Having booked a double room in a budget hotel (riad) through an online agency at 29 Euro per night, we arrived in Essaouira to see it advertised at the door Four Euros cheaper – business was a little slow.
We shifted from our room on the second floor that I had chosen on-line, to one on the first floor, with better wifi and settled in, but not before sipping politely on our welcoming pot of mint tea. I always think it tastes like mint toothpaste… gag. By the time we left I had managed to convince the cook not to add the mint – although she complied, she always looked at me warily after that, as if I was not to be trusted.
Am I the only person on the planet that does not like mint tea? I think so!
At breakfast the next morning it became apparent that we were the only guests in residence and breakfast was prepared just for us. Talk about pressure – the cook had to twiddle her thumbs waiting for us to get up before she could cook breakfast. Thereafter I was always worrying “maybe we should get up – the cook will be waiting for us” – I didn’t want to upset her any further.
Pride of place at breakfast were the inevitable Moroccan pancakes, which bore no resemblance whatsoever to pancakes as we knew them except that they were in this case, round. Though even this was not a given because the ones at the previous riad in Marrakech were square. In both cases they were prepared fresh every morning. The veiled ladies in Marrakech kneaded the mixture in a huge ceramic bowl, but there was no way the cook in Essaouria was letting this mint-tea hating woman in her kitchen, (Umm, O.K. Not really the cook’s problem I was just too scared to ask!) so I do not know how hers were made.
I really appreciate the past French colonization in Asia and Africa because it means a legacy of crusty french loaves with butter, jam and coffee for breakfast as well. In this case served in the light, cool internal courtyard, with the black and white square floor tiles, potted plants and mosaic tiled round tables. Moroccan rugs hanging over the upper balconies, and seagulls screeching overhead completed the picture.
That afternoon we came home for an afternoon Siesta. It seemed we had finally turned Spanish – a little late perhaps! After our siesta we came downstairs to leave however the front french doors that led into the foyer would not open. But Monsieur, hovering in the foyer, sprung to and opened them for us, explaining that there was some noisy construction taking place next door and as he did not want our siesta disturbed he had tied the door knobs together!
While he had us captive he helpfully pointed out that if we wanted our room cleaned and linen replaced we would need to leave our key with him the following day, as there was only one key to our door!
The next day we left the key and returned to find the bedspread fancily arranged, with my super-sized t-shirt, courtesy of Singapore Airlines lost luggage service, taking pride of place in the middle of the bed.
This was doubly funny because we had taken almost all of our clothing to the laundry, but I had kept that shirt so that I would have something to wear in case of an emergency, like the clothes being late, or heaven forbid, lost. So it was not even a clean t-shirt that graced our bed.
Walking up into the wardrobe-bathroom area I smiled as I stepped over Marty’s thongs, now arranged neatly in the middle of the step. Thank goodness they were brand new Nike thongs and not his old ones that finally went to thong heaven in the Sahara. By the way, I am talking about thongs as in flip flops or jandals, people, not underwear!
My toiletries previously strewn all over the shelf were now standing to attention, and a saucer had been provided for the soap. We were feeling just a little bit spoilt, (even if Marty had to do a fix-it job on the shower head to stop it hanging limply against the wall!)
Strange… there was an item of my clothing, wet and hanging from the shower rail… it hadn’t been there when I left. Later Marty discovered a decidedly damp shirt hanging on the clothes rack. Had the washing fairy, aka cook and cleaner, washed our remaining clothes for us – or had they inadvertently got wet during the room cleaning process!
I do so love staying in budget hotels – You never know what to expect!
Have you had any strange hotel experiences?
This forms part of the Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday. Click on the link and enjoy!
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